You grow up dreaming about your future, imagining the job and the family you will have. You decide which profession to choose, whom to marry, what to do with your life. But what if you don’t have any choice? What if someone has already decided for you, and put their desires ahead of yours? Will you fight or accept your fate? A 28-year-old young woman tells us about a day when her dreams were taken away from her.
I grew up in Moscow, in a big family. I have four brothers. After I finished school, I got accepted to university. I’m actually from Georgia, and almost every summer my family went there to visit my grandma. That year we went to see her, as always, to have a rest before my lessons began. I was twenty at the time. As I was living in Moscow, I didn’t know many people in Georgia. I didn’t even know all my relatives. That summer, my grandma’s neighbor came to our house. She said that her grandson liked me and wanted to marry me. I had never seen him or his family before. He had come from Azerbaijan to Georgia, also to visit his grandmother. He’d seen me for the first time entering my grandma’s house, just days before. A few more times, members of his family came and asked my parents to agree to the marriage. But my parents refused each time. I didn’t want to get married, and my parents weren’t thinking about it either. They wanted me to continue studying.
One day, I was on my way home to my grandma’s as usual. Suddenly, a car stopped near me. Four guys got out. They grabbed me and pushed me into the car. I was trying to escape and scream, but they laid me on the seat of the car, and held me so tightly that I almost couldn’t move. No one heard or saw me. I didn’t have enough strength to resist for long. I was shocked, and didn’t understand what was happening. I didn’t know who they were, or what they wanted. My first thought was, They are taking me somewhere to kill me.
The entire drive, I cried. We were going somewhere very far away, I can’t say how far exactly. But by the time we stopped, it was already dark. One of the guys entered a house and came back with a man and two women. They were trying to calm me, and ask me to walk into the house. I refused, so they dragged me inside and locked me in a room. Later, a young girl entered. She told me that I’d been kidnapped to marry her brother. “Everything will be alright, don’t be afraid,” she said. She tried to convince me that her brother was a good person. That night, I didn’t sleep. Women were following me everywhere. Even to the bathroom.
The next day, I decided to pretend that I’d accepted my fate—but then I tried to escape. I was running barefoot, so I couldn’t get far. They caught me and locked me in the room again. That same evening, my future husband entered the room and forced me to have sex with him. I had never had sex before. He raped me. I thought it was a nightmare. I felt like I’d aged ten years in just a few hours. My life was destroyed. I was crying, and asking him to take me to my mom. I didn’t understand what was happening, who all of these people were, where I was. I felt disgust and hatred towards him.
They made me call my parents and say that I was alright. That I’d married and that they shouldn’t worry about me. My kidnappers tried to make me believe that no one would find me. They kept saying that nobody needed me because I wasn’t a virgin anymore. I called my mom, but women were standing near me—they grabbed the phone before I was able to say the truth. They kept me locked in that house one month. During this time, they visited my parents and a so-called ‘negotiation between families’ took place. In the beginning, my parents tried to do something, tried to find me. But as usually happens in Caucasus, once they accept it, it’s over. My parents agreed to the marriage.
Everyone around me told me it was my fate, that it was destined to happen. I thought I didn’t have any choice but to accept the marriage. I thought, Now I have to live with this person for the rest of my life. I got pregnant. So I stayed with him.
We moved back to Moscow, and I started university. Then my daughter was born. My husband was very rich and loved me very much. I wouldn’t say he was a bad person. But we were so different. I never learned to love him. During the first six months, I cried every night. I couldn’t comprehend that I was married and had a child. I blamed my parents for all my suffering. I was angry with them for leaving me in that house with those strange people. I was just a child. They should have taken me back home, whatever it took. I would never do what they did. God forbid, if something like that ever happens to my daughter, I will do whatever it takes to bring her back home, will do everything to find her, however long it takes.
After I finished my first year at university, we moved to Baku, Azerbaijan. I transferred to another university there. Sometimes, I just tried to forget that I was married. I’d go out with my friends and tried to live the way I’d lived before. I had lived like that for two years before I knew that I couldn’t stand it any more. I told my husband that I wanted a divorce, and to never see him again. It wasn’t easy. After every fight, his relatives tried to convince me not to destroy our family. We weren’t officially married, only bound together in an unofficial ‘civil marriage’ that is common in the Caucasus. So I just left.
It was hard in the beginning. My husband never tried to see his daughter, and didn’t help us. He doesn’t have any rights to her, and I will never let him see her again. I have heard that he has remarried and has a son. That’s even better. I don’t want him to bother us anymore. Those few years I spent with him were a nightmare. So now I just live, and try to forget everything.
Today, I’m married again, to a person I love. We met after I got divorced. We fell for each other, but for a long time we were just dating. I couldn’t agree to marry him. I was afraid of being disappointed again. Now we have already been together for six years. We are happy. My daughter calls him Dad, and she doesn’t know her biological father. My husband loves her as if she was his own child. I’m thankful to God for my daughter and my husband. Now we are expecting our second child. If I have a boy, I will never let him do what my first husband did. I will teach him to be responsible. I will teach him that a person’s life is not a toy; that he can’t play with other people’s fates.
Now that I’m older, I regret agreeing to stay with my kidnapper and accepting my fate. For a long time, I was full of anger towards those people for taking my dreams away, for ruining my life. That day changed everything. I had to live with people I’d never met, share a bed with a person I’d never even seen before.
Even though time has passed and I’m happy now, and thankful to God for giving me my daughter, despite all this sorrow, I wish I could change what happened. I wish I could change the past. I wish I could change something. I wouldn’t listen to anyone. I wouldn’t be afraid of anything.